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Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Education has lauded the Montego Co-operative Credit Union Schools Academic Championship Quiz, which is now in its 23rd year.
  • Mrs. Easy informs that the birth of the quiz resulted from a decision taken by the Board of the Co-op to do something for the students of western Jamaica.
  • Under the programme, some73 scholarships and bursaries have been given to students in western Jamaica, valued at some $3.8 million. The scholarships are awarded annually to two students who have been successful in the GSAT examination.

The Ministry of Education has lauded the Montego Co-operative Credit Union Schools Academic Championship Quiz, which is now in its 23rd year.

The quiz, which has primary and preparatory school students competing in a manner similar to the national schools challenge quiz, is very popular among the institutions in Westmoreland, Hanover, St. James and Trelawny.

Lauding the Montego Co-operative Credit Union for the decision to not only stage the quiz, but stay with the project for the past 23 years, the Ministry of Education’s Western Regional Director, Dr. Michelle Pinnock, tells JIS News that it is playing a vital role in the education process for students who are on the verge of starting their secondary level education.

The annual quiz has students between 8 and 12 years challenging each other in subject areas, including Mathematics, English Language, and Science, General Knowledge and Communication Tasks and matters relating to the Credit Union.

It attracts an average of 16 primary and junior high, all age and preparatory schools from the western region, with its main objectives being to sharpen the students’ academic and intellectual responses, build camaraderie, and promote good conduct and a spirit of fair play.

Dr. Pinnock says apart from exposing the students to inter-school competition, the quiz has been helping to build the confidence of grades 5 and 6 students as they prepare for the Grade Six Achievement Test (GAST).

“Exposure is extremely important.  This kind of competition can only help to boost confidence and school morale. Just seeing the students interact among themselves and then at competition with other schools is certainly a boost in the whole inter-personal situation and preparing them for the real life in high school,” she adds.

Dr. Pinnock tells JIS News that the Ministry is pleased with the content of the quiz, especially the fact that it covers most of what the students need as they prepare for GSAT, while introducing them to aspects of financial management, a programme which is to be rolled out soon by the Ministry in schools in western Jamaica.

Meanwhile, Co-ordinator of the competition, Jodi-Ann Martin Easy, tells JIS News that a key objective of the quiz is to encourage educational development and ultimately establish a culture of saving among the participants.

Mrs. Easy sees the staging of the annual quiz as Montego Co-operative Credit Union playing its role as a good corporate citizen in assisting to improve the education process, while developing good sportsman-like qualities among not only the students, but the teachers and even the schools.

“We have seen very keen competition over the years between the schools and at the end it is just a fact of life that there has to be a winner. In Montego Bay Co-op’s views, there are no losers as all our participants have qualities of being winners and we encourage them to see themselves and their schools as winners. These students are engaged in other inter-school competitions, including sports, so the quiz adds another dimension to their development,” she says.

Mrs. Easy informs that the birth of the quiz resulted from a decision taken by the Board of the Co-op to do something for the students of  western Jamaica.

Chetwood and Jody-Ann Martin Easy
Co-ordinator of the Montego Co-op Credit Union Schools Championship Quiz, Jodi-Ann Martin Easy (2nd right), makes a presentation to the captain of the Chetwood Memorial Primary School, Shannai McDowell, after they won the quiz for the fourth consecutive year in June 2015. Members of the winning team and teachers share the occasion.

“The Board members were looking at ways in which Montego Co-op could reach out to the students of western Jamaica and despite the quiz not being a new event to the education landscape, they thought it was the perfect ‘bridge’ between the primary and high schools,” she says.

“We have seen the majority of the students who participate in the quiz getting GSAT average of high 90s and being placed at the number 1 school of choice. These students over the years have gone on to do exceptionally well in CSEC examinations and a number of them are now productive professionals,” Mrs. Easy tells JIS News.

Chetwood Memorial Primary School from Montego Bay has won the quiz for the last four years.

Chetwood Memorial Primary
Members of the Chetwood Memorial Primary School and their teachers with their prizes and trophies after winning the 2015 renewal of the Montego Cooperative Credit Union Schools Championship Quiz.

In addition to the quiz, Montego Co-op also supports education through the provision of scholarships to primary school students as they make the transition to high school. This programme – the Bayley-Hay Scholarship – is in honour of one of the pioneers, the late Josiah Bayley-Hay, who served the institution for over 22 years.

Under the programme, some 73 scholarships and bursaries have been given to students in western Jamaica, valued at some $3.8 million. The scholarships are awarded annually to two students who have been successful in the GSAT examination.

Montego Co-operative Credit Union was formed by the amalgamation of St. James and St. Paul’s Credit Unions and was registered on the December 31, 1969. The move was intended to consolidate and fortify both co-operatives as a single entity.

After 47 years of operation, the Credit Union now has 32,000 members, with assets of $2.85 billion; a loan portfolio of $1.59 billion and savings of $2.24 billion.